Manitoba issues flood watch as R.M. of Stuartburn declares its own state of emergency due to flooding

By | June 8, 2020

The province issued a flood watch for northwest and southeast Manitoba on Monday, just hours after a Manitoba community near the international border declared its own state of local emergency due to flooding and washed out roads.

The Rural Municipality of Stuartburn in southeastern Manitoba entered a state of local emergency that went into effect Monday morning at 11 a.m. due to flooding, as the potential for tornadoes and more rain in the forecast raises alarm.

Environment Canada meteorologists issued a tornado warning just after 4 p.m. on Monday for the rural municipality of Stuartburn, including Zhoda, Vita and Sundown as well as the rural municipality of Piney, including Sandilands and Sprague.

In a bulletin on Monday, Manitoba’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre said water levels in local rivers and streams are rising and could lead to overland flooding in low-lying areas.

Over the weekend, a precipitation system dumped up to 155 mm of rain in southeastern parts and up to 25 mm in northwestern areas, and another system could bring an additional 30 mm of rainfall throughout the next two days, according to the province’s bulletin.

On Saturday the centre had warned about the potential for several days of heavy winds and rains that could lead to flooding and high waters in northern and southeastern Manitoba.

In a bulletin late Monday afternoon, Manitoba 511 said Highway 203, between Woodridge and Highway 404, is closed due to flooding and water over the road.

Reeve David Kiansky of Stuartburn says flooding and washed out roads are preventing access for community members and threatening the town, the surrounding community and farmlands.

“It’s serious. Everything is under water,” he said, adding that additional precipitation — on top of the 22 cm or so that he says already fell — could be devastating for the agricultural sector.

“Every farm field is basically a lake.”

The RM of Stuartburn said no one was evacuated from their homes as a result of flooding, but several roads were washed out. (Lucie Maynard/Submitted )

He hasn’t seen this much overland flooding since the flood of ’97, when he said they were dealing with about 30 cm.

Kiansky said he is calling on higher levels of government to declare an official state of emergency so the rural municipality can benefit from the additional powers and funding that could be granted to local authorities.

In an email, chief administrative officer Lucie Maynard said there are no mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders in place. Maynard said she had just returned from visiting an affected site in the area.

“We have many roads washed out and we will be deploying an aqua dam for one home in Lonesand and we’ve gotten several calls from homeowners requesting sandbags,” she said.

The Roseau River, a tributary of the mighty Red River, runs through the farming community located 95 kilometres south of Winnipeg.

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